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After School App - What Every Parent Should Know

Apps and Games Thursday, December 10, 2015

What is it: 

After School, a free app that was originally launched in October 2014, is available on more than 23,000 high school campuses nationwide. The app allows teens to post anonymous messages related directly to an individual school. It was designed to share messages, thoughts and updates but instead, is increasingly become a place for online bullying, sexually graphic content and in some cases, violent threats.

The problem:

After School's message boards are closed to adults. Users must verify that they attend high school by connecting the app to their Facebook pages. Each high school has its own restricted message board accessible only by its students.

That open forum can lead to graphic content.

The issues are similar to those seen with the app Yik Yak, which also allows anonymous posts and has been blocked by many school systems.

Threats:

November 2014. A month after its debut, a 17-year-old at Brandon High School in Ortonville, Mich., threatened an attack in a series of After School posts, including one that read, “Id rather take my AR 15 to school and practice on my classmates than to the gun range,” said his attorney, Deanna Kelley. He pleaded guilty to making a terrorist threat and using a computer in a crime and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Kelley said the teenager made the threats because he was upset about bullying on the app, which included racial slurs.

What parents should do:

The Cyber Safety Cop's basic safety premise is accountably. If a parent cannot review the messages their children are sending or receiving online, then that app is not safe for children and not allowable on their devices.

Check your child's device(s) for this app. Turn on parental controls to block the child's ability to download apps on their own.

References:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/millions-of-teens-are-using-a-new-app-to-post-anonymous-thoughts-and-most-parents-have-no-idea/2015/12/08/1532a98c-9907-11e5-8917-653b65c809eb_story.html
http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2015/12/what_is_the_controversial_afte.html

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